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11.01. 2013

CFP: The Lives of Objects

Wolfson College, Oxford. From 20-22 September 2013

The Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW) exists to encourage practice and research in life-writing in all forms, from biography to autobiography, diaries to blogs, letters to memoirs. It is directed by renowned biographer Professor Hermione Lee, associate-directed by eminent colonial scholar Professor Elleke Boehmer, administered by literary historian Dr Rachel Hewitt, and is based at Wolfson College, Oxford. From 20-22 September 2013, OCLW will hold its first major triennial conference, on the subject of `The Lives of Objects'.

Submit Abstract by 31 January 2013

The application of life-writing to objects lies at the heart of many
recently published biographies, memoirs and histories, including Neil
MacGregor's A History of the World in 100 Objects (2010), Edmund De Waal's The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance (2010), Steven Connor's Paraphernalia: The Curious Lives of Magical Things (2011), Mark Kurlansky's Salt: A World History (2003) and Lorraine Daston's Biographies of Scientific Objects (2000). Biographies of objects raise important methodological issues pertinent to life-writing, regarding narrative, structure and chronology; the representation of change and improvement; and the influence of objects in human lives, communities and material history. The study of `object biographies' continues to generate fruitful areas of academic research, including Bill Brown's work on `thing theory' (2001); Chris Gosden and Yvonne Marshall's 1999 study of `the cultural biography of objects' (in relation to archaeology); and explorations of value and exchange of objects in cultural and material history, such as the essays included in Arjun Appadurai's edited volume The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective (1986).

For more information - https://www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/clusters/life-writing/events/conference